The Obama administration is very sensitive about its record on fighting terror. President Barack Obama ran for re-election in 2012 on the strength of the Osama bin Laden raid, and the fight against terrorism is one of the few areas in which the president still enjoys public approval. Yet in Israel, the Obama administration is pushing for the release of Palestinian terrorists and murderers who show no remorse and are fêted for their crimes.
Last year, Secretary of State John Kerry forced the Israeli government to agree to the release of 104 long-term prisoners, including many who had killed civilians. Israelis are raising the alarm–not only because of the grave injustice being committed, not only because the releases incentivize further terror, but also because Kerry’s “peace-at-any-price” approach may be forcing Israel to make concessions to which it has not actually agreed.
In her latest column, Israeli journalist Caroline Glick describes how an concession to release 82 prisoners became 104:
For the pleasure of their company, Kerry forced Israel to agree up-front to release scores of Palestinian terrorist murderers. And he did so in bad faith.
According to a high-ranking government official, Israel told Kerry it would release 82 murderers, none of whom are Israelis. And he agreed. But then, during a joint appearance with Kerry, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas announced that Israel had agreed to release 104 terrorists, including Israeli citizens. Rather than correct him, Kerry went along, and so locked Israel into a concession it had never made.
There are two reasons Israel continues to play along. One: it is worried about being blamed for the failure of the peace process. Two: it does not want to risk losing U.S. support in the event of a future strike against Iran.
Yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot ignore public outrage forever. Indeed, one of his coalition partners recently threatened to quit the government if Kerry’s proposals become the basis for peace talks with the Palestinians. The patience of the Israeli public is not limitless–not even in the face of pressure from Obama.